Ex-Denel CEO denies he instructed executives to work with Gupta associate Essa
Riaz Saloojee on Thursday said he did not question the approval of the VR Laser contract even though the Guptas were already controversial.
JOHANNESBURG - Former Denel group chief executive Riaz Saloojee on Thursday again denied that he instructed executives to work with Gupta associate Salim Essa or to award a contract to Gupta-owned VR Laser.
Saloojee first testified more than a year ago at the state capture commission but has since returned to the commission after other Denel executives including the company’s land systems CEO, Stephan Burger, testified.
He said that he did not question the approval of the VR Laser contract even though the Guptas were already controversial.
"I had introduced Mr Ntshepe as head business development and marketing to Mr Essa as I’ve done with many clients and customers that he should manage that relationship, but there was never an instruction for him to work with Mr Essa," Saloojee told the commission.
He also denied that he pressurised Burger to award a lucrative R200 million contract to VR Laser.
The commission’s evidence leader, Advocate Paul Kennedy, asked him: "Did it raise any alarm bells when it was proposed by management that you should approve the award of a lucrative contract to business people with a lot of media controversy?"
"There were no legal processes against VR Laser or its owners," Saloojee said in response.
Saloojee admitted that VR Laser was one of three companies that were handpicked and the only one that was told to adjust its prices, and eventually won the tender.